Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 - A Personal Forecast

Ok after reading all the "End of Year" and "2010 Prediction" posts, I realize I don't have a lot of things I would like to review or global predictions or questions to add. What I do have as I look forward to is a year of possibilities and expectations. Definitely more than any other time in my professional life.

So I will model my post after @mbteach's 2009: Reflections on a Transformative Year in hopes that I have a Transformative 2010.

2010: My Year in Forecast

January 4 - Continue helping PLP group design professional development project
January 14 - Finish design of new marketing piece for school
January 15 - Choose a new phone system and wireless campus for our school
January 23 - Finish application for Google Administrators Academy
January 24 - Present new printed marketing piece at Admissions Program
January 28-Feb 1 - Attend and co-present at Educon 2.2 (meet and learn from some wonderful educators making my PLN a little more personal)
February 2 -Choose new website developer and begin process of designing
February 4-5 - Attend ISAS conference
February 28 - Submit proposal to present at TCEA 2011 conference
March 5 - Attend GTAdmin in San Antonio (good to have goals, right?)
March 8 - Roll out new phone system and wireless campus
April 12 - PLP group presents year end professional development project
June 4-11 - Help run first Teacher Boot Camp (or whatever PLP group decides on)
June 15 - Roll out new website and begin training administrators
June 27-30 - Attend first ISTE in Denver
July - August - Training for teachers, students and parents for use of new website

That's as far as I can think so far as it appears pretty daunting when you write it all down. Well at least I have a check list of goals for the first part of the year. Please let me know if you have any suggestions of things to add to my goals.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Google Teacher Academy for Admins - Why I'll apply

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the GTAdmin conference in San Antonio in March. Soon after it was announced David Jakes posted a list of concerns about the Academy. His concerns included whether it would be different enough that the admins would benefit from it, is it just about 'the badge' and that it needs to be about more than just the tools. Many other people got into the conversation both for and against but this evening I read Mark Gardner's response to the debate. He addresses the fact that it will be geared toward administrators but it is about the tools.

I will let you go and read those if you haven't already since I won't be able summarize them well enough.

What I wanted to do with this post is to explain (mostly to myself) why I will apply to GTAdmin.

While I agree that it needs to be different than the teacher academy, I still think we are all teachers and knowing how it can be used in the classroom is the most important part. It's about the students and how we can find ways to help make their education more innovative. While knowing how to set up and administer Google Docs would be beneficial to the Tech Directors it would mean nothing to the other administrators while the features of the Google Apps would mean something to everyone. I would assume they would give examples of how to use them for teacher/administrator collaboration as well as classroom use. I know I would walk away with a better knowledge of what Google Apps (and other Google products - since I just discovered Alerts, I'm sure I'm missing out on many things) would do as for our school.

The next thing that I appreciate is that this Academy is all about the tools. In another portion of my PLN, we have had a lot of conversation about it not being about the tools. While I agree it is much more about the pedagogy than it is about the tools, I think you have to be exposed to the possibilities and then apply them to your particular part of education. I appreciate that they are focussing on the tools and then allowing the people to discuss the pedagogy in their new and existing networks.

And finally the network is the real reason I am applying. While I don't care about 'the badge', I do care about the new network of people I would be exposed to. My ever expanding PLN is what gives me the opportunity to become a better educator and more importantly help my teachers, students and school be the best it can be.

So while I don't know that I will get the opportunity to go to GTAdmin, after the debate in the edublogosphere I now am clear on why I want to apply.

...Now to think about what @courosa said on Twitter about not having corporate advertising in schools and how Google Certified Teachers and Apple Distinguished Educators fall into that category. Definitely too much for my brain tonight. Another post, another day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tell me writing is not changing - Dare Ya

I LOVE the idea of Sports Illustrated on a Tablet seen below.

2010?! Are you kidding me?

And if that is what magazines and newspapers are going to look like, how much longer is traditional writing going to be useful outside an academic arena?

Tell me that a new writing pedagogy is not needed. Double Dog Dare Ya. [smiles]

Sunday, December 6, 2009

'Educational Networking' - Lightbulb

Ok, so I've been struggling for a while with the idea that we should be using social networking because that is what the "kids are doing these days." I have totally bought into the idea that we should be communicating and collaborating with social networking and teaching students how to leverage those platforms but I was still struggling with saying that we needed to teach social networking.

I don't think that making Facebook a school content management system is the way to go. But did that mean I wasn't supporting the "get the kids where they're at" mentality? I want to tap into the desire of the students to share online but in different spaces. Then I read something by @mrchase about how we need to respect Facebook.
"If my teachers had started trying to teach me to diagram sentences whilst I was hanging out in my clubhouse when I was a kid, I would have built a new clubhouse."

I totally agree. So, I knew I wanted to use social networking to help engage and encourage students to share their ideas and learn from people around the world but I still felt uncomfortable saying I wanted to teach social networking.

I had heard the term social learning before but that wasn't doing it for me. It wasn't the head-fake I was looking for. I like to trick kids into learning. Make them think they are just enjoying what they are doing, having a discussion and then at the end walk out and realize "dang it, he tricked me into learning something again."

Then this morning, I read Chris Lehmann's wonderful article on the National Association of Secondary Principal's site. And he nailed it for me with this quote.
Social networking has changed the landscape of society. High school reunions are being planned on Facebook, so this is no longer simply a “kid” thing. But it is not enough for educators to simply be aware of social networking; they have an obligation to teach students the difference between social networking and academic networking. Students can be known for more than just photos they took on their latest vacations; they can be known as serious evolving scholars. Educators can help them understand how to paint a digital portrait of themselves online that includes the work they do in school and help them network, both locally and globally, to enrich themselves as students.

Lightbulb goes off in my head. The clouds part and I have clarity. That's it, "academic networking (I may prefer educational networking, still pondering). That's what I want my teachers to be doing.

My next thought was "I wonder if my wife would move to Philly." Then I shortly realized, no I don't need to move to Philly (nor would they hire me at SLA), I have wonderful educators here and I just need to keep moving towards teaching educational networking. The more schools out there doing it the better off we will be. So, thanks for the clarity Chris and the rest of my educational network for helping me to a little more clarity.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's not about the Tech

I have really been enjoying Dean Shareski, David Warlick and others latest blogging about audience and traction. Warlick's latest post got me thinking again about the fact that we should not be focusing on the tech.

I think we need to focus on what we can do to make our students better today. To me that means teaching them to communicate and collaborate because those are the skills that often lead to success. So how do we teach them to achieve those things? We can teach them how to present themselves well through multiple mediums. Whether its on paper, a blog, a video, a slidedeck, a podcast etc. They need to be able to communicate well but they need to be able to do it well in all of those mediums. No longer is being able to write enough to impress a college admissions officer or potential employer. We expect more. We expect them to collaborate, to be a ‘team player’. That now means not only within their classroom, their division, their company, their industry but globally to all competitors, colleagues and consumers. If our students don't feel comfortable collaborating with people not only across the room who they are somewhat comfortable with but with people they have never met. If they are not comfortable with the idea of being transparent with their ideas and willing to engage with others and defend their opinions then we are doing them a disservice.

Fortune 500 companies are on Twitter, Facebook, they are blogging and posting videos on YouTube. Why are they doing all that? So they can communicate and collaborate.

So no, we don’t want to use tech for the sake of tech. We want to teach our students to communicate and collaborate and it just so happens that a portion of that now involves technology.